Country : Jamaica Label : Trojan Jamaica Genres and styles : Reggae Year : 2020
Toots & The Maytals

Got to Be Tough

· by Richard Lafrance

First album in 10 years for the venerable artist with a six-decade career. Toots Hibbert, one of the most dedicated out there, plays several instruments himself and even arranges a brass section. Zak Starkey on guitar, Sly Dunbar on drums, and Cyril Neville on percussion give this Jamaican album touches of rock, blues, jazz, and gospel. Hibbert’s voice has retained all the energy and power that he’s known for. The title song, a nod to civil rights, is as much about bearing witness to the pandemic, with its message of resilience. Toots revives the ska rhythms of his teenage years with “Having a Party” and a somewhat insipid version of “Three Little Birds”, with Ziggy Marley, but escapes with a reminder of the reggae sound of his golden period in the mid-’70s with “Warning Warning”. In early September, 78-year-old Toots seems to be recovering from the COVID that recently brought him down – we wish this towering legend a quick recovery.

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